TAMES ALWARD VAN FLEET
GENERAL, U. S. ARMY (RETIRED)
General James Alward Van Fleet was Commander of the U. S. Eighth Army and
attached Korean Army and United Nations Forces in Korea from 14 April 1951
to 12 February 1953. He was promoted to four-star rank in July, 1951, and
was retired 31 March 1953, with permanent rank of full General.
Born in Coytesville, New Jersey, 19 March 1892, General Van Fleet grew up
in Florida. He graduated from Summerlin Institute in Bartow, Florida, in 1911,
and from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point in 1915. Classmates
include fellow Infantry officers Dwight D. Eisenhower and Omar N. Bradley.
While serving as Commander of a machine gun battalion he saw action in
World War I, being wounded near Sedan a week before the Armistice.
Florida remembers General Van Fleet as "Major" or Coach", when he was at
the University of Florida in 1921-24 and 1929-33, in charge of the ROTC and
coaching the Gator Football Team. He was Head Coach in 1923 and 1924.
With rank of colonel, his Eighth Infantry Regiment spearheaded the 4th Division
assault landing at Utah Beach in the Normandy invasion on D-Day (6 June 1944).
Within three months he was a Major General in command of a division, and in
another three months he was a Corps Commander.
When Greece was almost defeated by Communist infiltration and attacked,
Van Fleet, a Lieutenant General in February 1948, was sent to Greece. Under
his direction the Communists were defeated and driven out, and Greece was
saved. He was back in the United States in command of the Second Army for
only a few months before he was off to the Korean battlefront to command the
U. S. Eighth Army.
His battle awards include three Distinguished Service Crosses, four Distinguished
Service Medals, three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, two Air Medals, three
Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Unit Citation, and the Combat Infantryman's
Badge-(his most prized possession). He has been decorated by the following
foreign countries: Greece, Korea, Iran, Ethiopia, Thailand, The Philippines,
Republic of China, England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Colombia.
Columbia University, The University of Florida, Long Island University, The
Seoul National University, and Chungang .University of Korea have honored
General Van Fleet with the degree of Doctor of Laws.
In May, June and July 1954, General Van Fleet conducted a survey of the
military, economic and political situation in the Far East, traveling with the
rank of Ambassador, as special representative of President Eisenhower.
In 1961 President Kennedy recalled the General to active service to conduct a
survey of National Guard and Special Service Forces units.
Since retiring from the Army, General Van Fleet has traveled extensively in the
Middle East, Far East, Africa and South America.
He is the author of the following articles based upon these experiences and his
active service in Greece and Korea:
"Who Says Our Allies Won't Fight?" (This Week Magazine)
"The Truth About Korea" (LIFE and Reader's Digest)
"The General Bags His Bear" (LIFE)
"Twenty-five Divisions for the Cost
of One" (Reader's Digest)
"Catastrophe in Asia" (U. S. News and World Report)
"General Van Fleet Reports on the
Off Shore (China) Islands" (LIFE)
"Russia's Southern Penetration" (Institute of Paper Chemistry)
"Rail Transport and the Winning
of Wars" (Association of American Railroads)
"Lest We Forget Korea" (Reader's Digest)
"How We Won in Greece" (The University of Wisconsin)
Currently, General Van Fleet is rendering consulting and advisory services to several
United States industrial concerns and to his many friends in foreign lands. When
in Florida, he devotes much time to his citrus groves and cattle ranch in Polk County,
where he grew up.
Board of Trustees, Long Island University, New York, New York.
Honorary Director, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, New York, New York.
Director, Equity Corporation, New York, New York.
Director, Societe Anonyme Hellinique des Eaux, Athens, Greece.
Director, Motorola-Korea, Seoul, Korea.
Director, Peoples Bank of Auburndale, Auburndale, Florida.
Vice President, Central Foundry Company, New York, New York.
President, The Korea Society, Inc. Washington, D. C.
President, Van Fleet Estates, Inc., Auburndale, Florida.
President, Green Valley Ranch, Inc., Auburndale, Florida.
President, Overseas Basic Industries, Inc., Polk City, Florida.
President, Withlacoochee Ranch, Polk City, Florida.
President, Sulphur Hellas S. A. Athens, Greece.
President, Virginia-Florida Investments, Inc. Alexandria, Virginia.
President, Ulen Management Company, New York, New York.
Residence: South Beach Road, Hobe Sound, Florida.
St. Andrews-by-the Sea, New Brunswick, Canada.
Office: Withlacoochee Ranch, Polk City, Florida. (Tel. 813-967-3888).
Korea Society, 1511 K St. Washington, D. C. (Tel. 202-347-3798).
(October 15, 1969).